Forest is the
smallest biome in South Africa, covering only about 0.1% of the country (1
Forests are found
from sea level to above 2000 metres. They grow in areas with high rainfall
and no frost. Forests are moist and seldom burn.
Forests consist of
trees that form a closed canopy, with
layers of plants beneath the canopy.
The largest and most
famous forests in South Africa are the Knysna and Tsitsikamma Forests of the
Most other forests
are very small and isolated. They include dune forests in KwaZulu Natal and
mountain forests (e.g. on the slopes of Table Mountain and the Drakensberg).
include yellowwood, stinkwood and ironwood trees; climbers and epiphytes;
and mosses and ferns.
Animals include Bushpig, Bushbuck, monkeys, Knysna
Loeries, pigeons and eagles.
Between 1800 and
2000, people destroyed about 40% of South Africa’s forests. Trees were
harvested for timber and coastal forests were destroyed to plant sugarcane.
Today many indigenous forests have been
replaced by plantations of alien trees (e.g. pine trees). The harvesting
of indigenous forest trees is strictly controlled.